Ontario Plans To Amend Excess Soil and Brownfields Regulation

Written by Paul Manning, Manning Environmental Law

Ontario is proposing changes to the excess soil management and brownfields redevelopment regime.

The changes are designed to “make it safer and easier for more excess soil to be reused locally…while continuing to ensure strong environmental protection” and to “clarify rules and remove unnecessary barriers to redevelopment and revitalization of historically contaminated lands…while protecting human health and the environment.

Opponents will see this as a deregulation which will primarily benefit business interests at the cost of environmental protection, notwithstanding these assurances.

Excess Soil

The changes will include the development of a new excess soil regulation supported by amendments to existing regulations including O. Reg. 347 and O. Reg. 153/04 made under the Environmental Protection Act supports key changes to excess soil management.

Proposed changes include:

  • clarifying that excess soil is not a waste if appropriately and directly reused;
  • development of flexible, risk-based reuse excess soil standards and soil characterization rules to provide greater clarity of environmental protection;
  • removal of waste-related approvals for low risk soil management activities;
  • improving safe and appropriate reuse of excess soil by requiring testing, tracking and registration of soil movements for larger and riskier generating and receiving sites;
  • flexibility for soil reuse through a Beneficial Reuse Assessment Tool to develop site specific standards;
  • landfill restrictions on deposit of clean soil (unless needed for cover).

Record of Site Condition

Under O. Reg. 153/04, a Record of Site Condition must be filed on the Ministry’s public registry if there is a change in property use from an industrial, commercial or community use to a more sensitive use, such as residential, institutional, agricultural, or parkland.

The Ministry is proposing amendments to O. Reg. 153/04 including reduced requirements to fully delineate contaminants (i.e. additional sampling) for properties going through the Risk Assessment process when contamination is already well understood.

The amendments would also provide flexibility on meeting standards where exceedances are caused by the use of a substance for safety under conditions of snow and ice, discharges of treated drinking water, and the presence of fill that matches local background levels.

Other proposed amendments would remove the requirement for a Record of Site Condition for specific low risk redevelopment situations, including converting:

  • Low-rise commercial buildings to mixed-use residential with commercial on main floor;
  • Temporary roads in construction areas to residential;
  • Indoor places of worship to residential; and
  • Industrial or commercial to indoor agriculture in or on the same building.

The proposal is posted for comment on the Environment Registry until May 31, 2019. To read the full proposal, click here.

This article has been republished with the permission of the author. It was first published here .

This article is provided only as a general guide and is not legal advice. If you do have any issue that requires legal advice please contact Manning Environmental Law.

About the Author

Paul Manning is the principal of Manning Environmental Law and an environmental law specialist certified by the Law Society of Ontario. He has been named as one of the World’s Leading Environmental Lawyers and one of the World’s Leading Climate Change Lawyers by Who’s Who Legal.
Paul advises clients on a wide range of environmental law issues and represents them as counsel before tribunals and the courts. His practice focuses on environmental, energy, planning and Aboriginal law.


Webinar: Demystifying the use of Risk Assessment at Brownfield Sites

Can I leave property contamination in-place?

Demystifying the use of Risk Assessment under Ontario’s Record of Site Regulations

The development of contaminated property or redevelopment of brownfield sites requires a decision on what to do with the contamination at the site.  In Ontario, the “dig-and-dump” approach is very popular as it removes contaminated soil from the property and transfers it to either a soil treatment facility or landfill.  However, there are specific cases in which it may impractical or too costly to do so.  In such cases, the use of risk assessment may be a feasible alternative.

This webinar will provide participants with an easy-to-follow explanation of the environmental risk assessment process in addressing contamination at a site.  It will also provide information on the time-line for the Ontario Environment Ministry review of the environmental risk assessment and tricks and traps with respect to the expediting the process and filing a Record of Site Condition (RSC).

The presenters for this webinar, Adam Safruk (Senior Environmental Health Scientist and Project manager at Intrinsik Corp.) and Chad Stewart (Manager, Site Investigation and Remediation Services, ALTECH Environmental Consulting Ltd), are two industry experts with over 40 years of combined experience dealing with environmental issues related to real estate.  During this 45-minute webinar, they will be discussing the following:

  1. The pros and cons of environmental risk assessment in addressing contamination at a property;
  2. An overview of the science behind the environmental risk assessment process and the knowledge the owner/developer needs to make informed decisions;
  3. The cost and timing of a risk assessment and the success rate in obtaining a Record of Site Condition, and
  4. Examples of success and failures in the use of risk assessment to address contamination at a property.

This webinar will be of value to real estate developers, real estate lawyers, commercial/industrial real estate agents, those involved in the construction industry, and others interested in real estate.

Date: May 28th, 2019

Time:  12:15 pm until 1:00 pm

Speakers:       Chad Stewart, P.Eng., QP, ALTECH Environmental Consulting Ltd.

                            Adam Safruk, MES, B.Sc., Intrinsik Corp.

Register:  This is a free event.  Send an e-mail to confirm your participation in the webinar to Felicia Ahn at  You will receive instructions on how to access the webinar.  There is also the opportunity to attend in person for a very limited number of individuals.


About the Speakers

Chad Stewart, P.Eng., QP; ALTECH Environmental Group.   Chad is the Manager of Site Investigation and Remediation Services at ALTECH Environmental Consulting Ltd.  He is designated as a Qualified Professional (QP) under the Ontario Record of Site Condition Regulation.  He has performed hundreds of environmental site investigations and supervised the remediation of dozens of high profile properties in Ontario.  Chad is a registered professional engineer in the Province of Ontario.  He has a BASc. in geo-environmental engineering from Queens University.

Adam Safruk, B.Sc., MES, QPRA; Intrinsik Corp.  Adam is a Senior Environmental Health Scientist with over 16 years of experience in human health risk assessment, ecological risk assessment, toxicology, peer review, public consultation, risk communication and risk management.  He is a qualified professional for risk assessment under the Ontario Record of Site Condition Regulation.  He has overseen and contributed to hundreds of risk assessment projects for industry and government in jurisdictions across Canada related to complex contaminated sites, underground storage tanks, landfill sites, industrial processes, and community-based assessments.  Adam provides expert advice to both industry and government, including Health Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks.